ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Adam Gotsis could not sit idly by as his homeland burned.
Like so many people living in America, Gotsis saw the photos of Australians fleeing massive bushfires under a haunting red sky. He's seen the videos of animals seeking shelter in their scorched habitat.
"It's devastating," Gotsis said. "We've got such a beautiful country, beautiful land, animals, all that stuff — and for it to be ripped apart by these fires is pretty devastating, just to see all those communities out there, rural Victoria, New South Wales, destroyed, it's tough. It's tough because we don't have a lot of help."
The bushfires raging across Australia have set ablaze an estimated 26 million acres and caused the deaths of 27 people as of Jan. 13 and an estimated one billion animals, according to a professor at the University of Sydney.
The Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria, which includes Gotsis' hometown of Melbourne, have been hit particularly hard.
As a native Australian, Gotsis felt an urge to help his home country. That led him to launch Green and Gold Unite and Auction for Australia. Green and Gold Unite is Gotsis' hub for donations to New South Wales Rural Fire Service, WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) and Country Fire Authority, a large volunteer-based emergency service organization.
Through Auction for Australia, Gotsis is encouraging further fundraising through bids on Broncos memorabilia. The items will be added to the auction site later this week.
"I have such a valuable platform here in the States where I can reach a lot of people here that can help and back home that can help," Gotsis said. "I just want to use that platform to help raise awareness, raise the funds and hopefully be able to give something to contribute to this. That's hopefully what I'm doing. There's the firefighters that need everything, wildlife centers that need support now because they've got, I think, over a billion animals that are documented to be injured or deceased.
"It's hard to see and hard to sit here and just let that happen without trying to make an impact."